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HRN Original Blog:
Maryland's Own GQ

Arkansas Derby Analysis: It's Put Up or Shut Up Time

Bayern allw 615 X 400
Photo: Benoit Photos


At Oaklawn Park on Saturday at Hot Springs, AR it’s “put up or shut up” time for a number of 3-year-olds entered in the $1,000,000 Arkansas Derby (G1).

Eight (8) runners are vying for precious Derby system points. One hundred (100) points to the winner with forty (40) points to the runner-up, third is worth twenty (20) points and ten (10) points awarded to the fourth place finisher.

For 9-5 Morning Line favorite Tapiture who has already earned enough (42) points to secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate, which is limited to 20 runners.

On the other hand, there is a quartet in here that enough minor award points earlier in the Derby prep season, but hit a road bump in recent races. So the likes of 9-2 third choice Strong Mandate (11 pts.), 8-1 Commissioner (10 pts.), 10 -1 Conquest Titan (9 pts.) and 12-1 Ride On Curlin (15 pts.), will need to hit the board before making travel plans to Louisville for the first Saturday in May.

Then for the remaining three starters who have no points, Bob Bafferts’ budding star Bayern, Todd Pletchers' other entry Danza and 30-1 longshot Thundergram , they need to be part of the Exacta to keep their connections Derby hopes alive. Here’s how these 3-year-olds will break from the gate in Oaklawn Park’s 11th race on Saturday. Approximate Post Time is 7:07pm EDT...

#1 - Danza (15-1) J. Bravo / T. Pletcher

#2 - Knock Em Flat ***** WILL BE SCRATCHED *****

#3 - Tapiture (9-5) J. Rosario / S. Asmussen

#4 - Ride On Curlin (12-1) J. Court / W. Gowan

#5 - Thundergram (30-1) N. Arroyo, Jr. / M. Casse

#6 - Commissioner (8-1) M. Smith / T. Pletcher

#7 - Conquest Titan (10-1) C. Borel / M. Casse

#8 - Bayern (2-1) G. Stevens / B. Baffert

#9 - Strong Mandate (9-2) L. Saez / D. W. Lukas

HOW I SEE IT: There’s plenty of early speed and a couple of proven closers to run at in deep stretch. Strong Mandate and Bayern will need to gun right from the gate due to their outside posts, while Danza will get first run on them along the rail, with Thundergram in the mix as well. Tapiture and Ride On Curlin will settle behind those to get a nice stalking trip, leaving Commissioner and Conquest Titan at the rear through the first 7/8ths.

Over the past two racing days, the Oaklawn Park dirt oval has only yielded 2 gate-to-wire winners from 7 races of a mile and longer. This stat is good news to Commissioner and Conquest Titan connections, as they have raced both of their 3-year-old starts over speed favoring surfaces. Cannot imagine Asmussen will have the screws completely tightened on Tapiture, as he’s already assured a spot in the Kentucky Derby gate, so look for just a minor award from him. Ride On Curlin is under the radar, but jockey Jon Court has scored at big prices in recent Arkansas Derby’s with Arch Arch Arch ($52.40 in ’11) and Line of David ($36.60 in ’10).

THE PLAY: $10 WP #6 and $1 TRI 1,4,6,7,8 / 1,4,6,7,8 / 3

Recapping posted selections from Thursday, April 10th at Pimlico, had 6 winners from 9 races, including the Pick-5 (2 Top Selection; payoffs in BOLD) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $4.40 (1st race), $9.60 (5th), $7.60 (6th), $12.20 (7th), $3.80 (8th) and $9.00 (9th).

The BEST BET of the Day (15: 2-4-5) Thurmont (8th race: 6-1 M/L; 6-1 PT) dropped back after being in tight quarters soon after the break, was ridden along off the pace, angled five wide and closed steadily through the final furlong, but could not catch the top 2, settling for third returning $2.80 to SHOW.

The LONGSHOT PICK (15: 4-5-0) Midsummer’s Eve (3rd race: 15-1 M/L; 8-1 PT) bumped shortly after leaving the starting gate, was no factor through the early stages and only passed a couple tiring rivals to finish a disappointing 5th over 7 lengths behind the winner.

FYI – the BEST BET of the Day selection will never be a M/L favorite and the LONGSHOT PICK will simply be the runner having the highest M/L odds among my top picks for an entire card.

PLEASE NOTE: Statistics provided for the BEST BET and LONGSHOT PICK in parentheses represent the Number of Picks: Wins-Places-Shows. For example, the BEST BET (10: 1-2-3) was picked 10 times resulting in 1 winner, 2 places and 3 shows. In the past, I would reset these numbers at the start of each meet. For 2014, I reset these numbers on Jan. 1st in order to chart results on a yearly basis.

Selections for Friday, Apr. 11th at Old Hilltop Top posted below based on track being FAST and TURF FIRM.

Soup of the Day at Pimlico: Manhattan Oyster

1st race – $16,000 Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#2 – Jarrod’s Commando (8-5)
#5 – Hope Still Springs (4-1)
#1 – Blimey (7-2)

2nd race – $8,000 Claiming for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#7 – Andrus Athena (3-1)
#1 – Saratoga Empress (12-1)
#5 – Unsighted (20-1)

3rd race – $40,000 Maidens for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 1 mile on TURF
#10 – Everything Matters (6-5)
#13 – Forbidden Drive (8-1)
#12 – Buffed (15-1)

4th race – $32,000 Optional Claiming N3X for 3 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#5 – Mass Destruction (7-5)
#2 – Do It for Don (6-1)
#1 – Prospero (9-2)

10 cent Jackpot Pick-5… Carryover: $17,162
The Play: 2,3,7 / 2,3,4 / 2,6,7 / 2,3,5 / 1,4,7($24.30)

5th race – $25,000 Claiming N2L for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 1 mile on TURF
#2 – Exchange Student (4-1)  *** BEST BET ***
#3 – Trouble in Love (7-2)
#7 – Our Republic (5-1)

6th race – $40,000 Optional Claiming N1X for 3 y.o. – 6 furlongs
#4 – Prospector’s Heart (8-5)
#3 – Miners Quest (2-1)
#2 – Frat Man (9-2)

7th race – $25,000 Optional Claiming N2X for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 5 f ON TURF
#6 – No Satis Action (3-1)
#2 – Pennies Appeal (6-1)
#7 – Perfect Measure (20-1)

8th race – $25,000 Optional Claiming N2X for F&M 3 y.o. and up – 5 furlongs
#2 – Chance Encounter (8-5)
#3 – Dancing Feather (7-2)
#5 – Neo’s Grand Finale (4-1)

9th race – $16,000 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#7 – Make Me a Deal (10-1)  $$$ LONGSHOT PLAY $$$    
#2 – Fond of Candy (3-1)
#4 – Im Charming (8-1)

Food for Thought: Baseball Hall of Famers are typically successful in only 3 of 10 plate appearances. Think about it… Good Luck!

 

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Older Comments about Arkansas Derby Analysis: It's Put Up or Shut Up Time...

Furlonger someone has factored in the bruised foot. The only one that matters in this. That would be Baffert,this horse is so valuable. They would never risk putting him on the track exposing him to injury. Baffert already has an Army ready to run in the Derby. He does not need to panic and rush a horse. If you do not like him today on his merits,fair point. But do not lay off him because of the injury. Baffert has been pointing for this race for a month,he knew exactly where he ws running once Hoppertunity beat this field in his last. bpiets i have never been a fan of Strong Mandate,but i agree with you.I think this horse will run big today and i think he will be 2nd best.
Has anyone here factored in Bayern's bruised foot still possibly being an issue? this is the only reason that I won't use him.
strong mandate should be ready for his big race before the kentucky and if he does not fire he will be ready for the preakness...
I don't think the 7 & 8 posts will cause Bayern and Strong Mandate to have to send their horses. Ride On Curlin's trainer has said he wants Court to take him back and make on late run. I just cant conceive of Strong Mandate being able to even warm up Bayern. Bayern works out faster than Strong Mandate races. I think this will become a one horse race by the time they hit the lane, and can only hope that Conquest Titan passes the remainder late to get second

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                Meet Gary Quill

  I am the most passionate person on the planet when it comes to thoroughbred horse racing! One sunny summer day in 1964 at Timonium Race Track is where my Dad and mentor introduced me to “The Sport of Kings”. Since that day, I have had the pleasure to visit over 40 different tracks across North America. Though an IT professional by trade, I’ve had a part-time gig with the Maryland Jockey Club since 1988.

 T
here are thousands of rail-birds who claim to be great handicappers. Well, I don’t claim to be the best… just the most passionate and one that won’t tout “chalk”. Like a savvy stock broker, I look for value and often find it. Unlike the talking heads on horse racing television networks and the dozens of websites featuring handicapper’s opinions, I’m ACCOUNTABLE. That is, good or bad, you’ll always know how my previously posted picks performed along with a running record of my BEST BET and LONGSHOT Play of the Day selections.

   In addition to focusing on the Maryland thoroughbred racing circuit, each year I follow the Derby Trail and post “GQ’s Derby Double Dozen” in early February. 

   My personal mission is to rejuvenate interest in thoroughbred horse racing. Being able to share my energy, thoughts and opinions on this sport via HRN will certainly help the cause.

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